Apple's Jobs unveils The Cube

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs has announced a range of new Macs - including dual-processor Power Macs at the same price as old single-processor models and a desktop machine in the form of an 8-inch cube.

          Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs has announced that the company is releasing dual-processor Power Mac G4s and a new series of iMacs, two of which are priced below $US1,000. Jobs also announced an Apple first: a desktop machine in the form of an 8-inch cube, dubbed the Power Mac G4 Cube.

          In a MacWorld Expo tradition, Jobs had a series of announcements to make during his keynote speech, sparking cheers from an appreciative audience of Mac fans. One of the biggest cheers came when Jobs said that the company's 450MHz and 500MHz G4 machines would henceforth be dual-processor boxes at no extra cost over current pricing.

          In one of Jobs' familiar shootouts with Wintel machines, he ran a Photoshop task on a new dual-processor 500MHz G4 and a 1GHz Pentium III running Windows 2000. With the aid of an Adobe plug-in that takes advantage of the dual-processor architecture, the G4 completed the task in 61 second, compared to the 1GHz Pentium's 124 seconds.

          Jobs declared the new Power Macs to be "equivalent to a 2GHz Pentium - if you could buy one."

          There are two versions of the Power Mac G4 Cube: a 450MHz model with a 64MB of RAM, a 20GB hard drive, priced at $1,799 without a monitor; and a 500MHz model with 128MB of RAM and a 30GB hard drive, priced at $2,299 without a monitor. Jobs announced three new Apple monitors that could be used with this new machine. The Cube machines will be available in August, Jobs said.

          "We're taking all the power of the Power Mac G4s and miniaturising it," Jobs said.

          Jobs noted this is the first time Apple has added a new category of machine to its basic product lines in two and a half years. The Cube was displayed in an expanded, six-panel version of Apple's familiar product matrix, with three desktop across the top of the matrix. But Jobs closed the show without filling in the new third slot in Apple's mobile product lineup - which is likely to further fuel long-running speculation over an Apple handheld based on the PalmOS.

          There will be three new Power Mac G4 models all based on the PowerPC chip: a 400MHz model with a 20GB hard drive, and two dual-rpocessor machines - a 450MHz model with a 30GB hard drive and a 500MHz model with a 40GB hard drive. The new Power Macs are available today.

          Jobs said that, like all Apple desktop machines from today on, the Power Mac models will come with a new Apple optical-tracking mouse and a new ergonomic keyboard. The two higher-end models will come standard with dual processors.

          There will also be four new iMacs: an entry level iMac with a 350Mhz processor, 64MB of RAM and 7.5G-byte hard drive, priced at $799; the iMacDV with a 400MHz chip, 64MB of RAM and a 10G-byte hard drive, priced at $999; the iMacDV+ with a 450MHz chip, 64MB of RAM and a 20G-byte hard drive, priced at $1,299; and the iMacDV Special Edition with a 500MHz chip, 128M-byte RAM and a 30G-byte hard drive, priced at $1,499.

          The iMacs under $US1000 come with a slot-loading CD-ROM drive and others with a DVD drive. All are available today, except for the entry-level machine, which will be available in September, Jobs said. New colors for the iMacs were also announced.

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